I’m ready for big job with U21s, says King

NOEL KING insists he is comfortable with making the gender jump from coaching Ireland’s women’s team to taking over as manager of the Irish men’s U21 side.

FAI International Performance Director Wim Koevermans opted for the ex-Derry City, Shamrock Rovers, Limerick FC and Finn Harps boss as successor to Don Givens.

King met with the media yesterday and insists he has more strings to his bow than his recent success in the women’s game.

The Dubliner has led the senior women’s side to their highest ever ranking while last month he guided the Irish U17 girls to silver at the UEFA Championships.

That side has now qualified for the World Cup at that age group and it will mean King will miss two UEFA U21 Championships qualifiers away to Turkey and Switzerland in September. But King, who worked alongside Jack Charlton with the men’s senior international side at Italia ‘90, is confident he can make his mark as Givens’s successor.

“I put my name into the hat for the job because I felt could do the job — I’ve never applied for job didn’t feel I could do,” said King.

Koevermans admitted that the FAI would like to see the U21s qualify for major tournaments in the future and King is happy to accept that challenge.

“Obviously I have a view of the past record of this team but I can’t affect it. I can affect the future and I’d like to be very successful, to qualify for tournaments and produce players for the senior team,” he said.

“Don has a certain approach and I’ve height of respect for him, everybody has. He wasn’t happy with the results either.

“I’m a different man and will bring something new I hope. Something I feel strongly is that to develop, the team has to win.

“The more important matches the players play, the better they will learn. If we could get a team to a major finals and play against the very cream, then they have to improve.”

King’s first game in charge will be the next UEFA Championships qualifier against Estonia on August 10.


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